What is the Best Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan?

best Medicare supplemental insurance planYou probably have wondered this yourself. Just what is the best Medicare supplemental insurance plan in Georgia, or in Tennessee?

We know this is a popular question because it is asked a lot in one form or another. What is the best Medigap plan? How do I find the best Medicare supplement plan? Who has the best Medicare supplemental insurance plan rates?

As a participating guest agent at the Insurance Library, we recently answered the question “What is the Best Medicare Insurance Supplement?“.

Our response follows.

Only you can decide which Medicare supplement insurance plan is best after considering your needs and budget.

Medicare supplement insurance rates are based on your age, zip code, plan, tobacco use and (in some situations) your height and weight.

All Medicare plans with the same letter are identical in every way . . . except the price.

 

OK, that was a bit weak, but we only have so much time and space so answers need to be brief.

The best Medicare supplement plan is truly the one that fits your needs and budget, but it goes beyond that.

 

Will My Doctor Take a Medicare Supplement Plan from (Company XYZ)?

We get this quite often. Some folks believe they will have better coverage, or more doctors will accept their plan if they pay more to get a “name brand” carrier.

The truth is, if your doctor accepts Medicare assignment they don’t care which insurance company issued your Medicare supplement plan.

One plan is not better than another, there really is no such thing as the best Medicare supplemental insurance plan.

 

Will I get a Better Medigap Policy if I pay more?

No, you won’t.

All Medicare supplement plans with the same letter are identical in every way . . . except price.

Paying a higher premium does not get you a better policy. It simply means you paid too much.

We recently showed a couple from south Georgia how they could save over $1700 per year by swapping their high priced plan from (a name brand) carrier to another company.

Who has that kind of money to throw away?

 

Is Medicare Supplement Plan F the Best?

Medigap plan F is the “Cadillac” of Medicare supplement plans. Not everyone can afford, nor do they need a Cadillac.

Probably 90% of my Medicare clients find that a Buick or Chevy get’s them where they need to go and they enjoy pocketing the savings.

You really don’t need to spend a fortune to find the best Medicare supplemental insurance plan for your needs and budget.

Get a quick Medigap quote now and compare up to 30 different plans based on your age and zip code. Click here for your INSTANT MEDIGAP QUOTE.

Blue Cross Medicare Plans – Your Questions Answered

We get mail. You have asked about Blue Cross Medicare supplement rates and renewal increases, and how high deductible plan F works. Is the BCBSGA Medigap plan F a good deal or a ripoff and can you afford it? Are Blue Cross Georgia Medicare supplement rate increases excessive? You want to know how to compare Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare supplement rates with other plans from Humana, Mutual of Omaha and others.

You have questions.

We have answers.

How do Blue Cross Medicare supplement rates and renewals compare with other carriers?

Like everything else, it depends.

In some zip codes and at certain ages, BCBSGA can be quite competitive. At other times, not so much.

Georgia Medicare Plans does offer Blue Cross Georgia Medicare plans to our clients, and will recommend them when there is a good “fit” to your needs and budget. But if we see a potential problem in selecting a Blue Cross Medigap plan we will alert you.

 

One question we are often asked is, “How does Blue Cross Medicare supplement plan high deductible F work?

Medigap High F is just like the traditional Medicare supplement plan F except you must first satisfy an annual deductible before the plan pays anything. For calendar year 2013 the Medigap high F deductible is $2110.

Blue Cross and Humana typically have some of the lowest premiums for High F and you can compare for yourself by following this link.

If you need more explanation in how High deductible plan F works, give us a call.

 

A similar question that comes up often “Is Medigap plan F a ripoff?“.

Perhaps ripoff is a bit harsh, but we fail to see the value in plan F from ANY carrier.

 

You have asked, “Are renewal Blue Cross Medicare supplement rates excessive?“.

We have seen some carriers that are much higher and several that are lower. Over the last few years Blue Cross renewal rates have increased from 8 – 13% for trend. Due to the way Blue Cross Medicare rates are structured you may receive two rate increases in the same year. One for trend, the other for having a birthday and getting older.

Most carriers only adjust renewal rates due to health care trend, but Blue Cross joins (AARP) United HealthCare and a few others that will increase your rates simply because you are older.

 

So how do you compare Blue Cross Medicare supplement rates with other carriers? You can get an instant Medigap quote here, or you can simply give us a call and we will be glad to answer your questions.

 

Finding a Medicare Doctor

Finding a Medicare doctorAre you having trouble finding a Medicare doctor in your area? Most doctors participate in Medicare, so finding a doctor normally isn’t an issue.

There are several routes to finding a Medicare doctor. Here are a few suggestions.

  • If you have a regular physician, ask them if they accept Medicare assignment
  • Maybe you moved to a new area and need a new doctor. Ask your prior doctor for a referral. You can also ask neighbors, relatives and friends.
  • Go online and use the Medicare Physician Finder. This valuable resource also allows you to compare hospitals and other medical providers in your area.
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and ask for assistance.

There are several keys to finding a Medicare doctor.

The first is to ask if the doctor is accepting new patients. The annual Medicare doc fix is frustrating to doctors and patients alike. As a result, some doctors are limiting the number of Medicare patients they are willing to accept.

Once you find a doctor, ask them if they accept Medicare assignment.

If you have original  Medicare and a Medigap plan, finding a Medicare doctor is much easier than it is for those who bought a Medicare Advantage plan. Almost every doctor and hospital participates in Medicare but less than half the doctors in Georgia accept Medicare Advantage plans. Even if you find a Medicare Advantage doctor, they may not take your particular plan.

Georgia Medicare Plans specializes in low cost, affordable Medicare supplement plans. Click to get a no obligation Medigap quote.

If you feel you cannot afford to see a doctor, there may be free or reduced cost medical clinics in your area. The Georgia Free Clinic Network is a great resource.

Patient assistance programs are available to seniors who cannot afford their medication. Three very good programs include:

Needy Meds

PPARx

RxAssist

We also suggest using Canadian pharmacy’s as a way of saving money. Our long time favorite is Blue Sky Drugs.

Please contact us if you have any questions about Medicare or Medigap plans. Georgia Medicare Plans can help you in finding a Medicare doctor and a low cost Medigap plan.

Medicare Supplement Bait and Switch

Georgia seniors beware of the bait and switch tactic for Medicare supplement plans. Are you really getting what you were told or is the plan something else?

A lady I have been working with for several months had numerous questions about Medicare plans. options, carriers and so forth. I patientely took the time to answer each of her questions in writing and always confirmed that I had addressed and answered her questions.

When it appeared she had made her decision, I gave her an application to complete and offered to assist in any way.

Many of my clients are in remote parts of the state and she was over 100 miles away. Thanks to the internet and, with some carriers at least, the electronic application, it is not necessary for me to drive to meet clients and they don’t have to clean up their house for “company”, nor bake cookies.

The Blue Cross application can be confusing and their process is more challenging that other carriers. They insist on a paper application which is an inconvenience but I offer them none the less.

She picked the Blue Cross plan over my recommendation even though it was more expensive than the plan I suggested. I tell everyone you don’t get more when you pay more, it simply means you paid too much.

Even though her initial motivation was to save money she apparently decided she would rather have the Blue Cross name which is fine with me.

A few days went by and I followed up to see if she was stumped or had simply forgotten about the application. I was surprised to hear she had applied direct to Blue Cross because they had quoted her a “much lower rate”.

This is not possible.

The rates on the Blue Cross website are the same whether you use an agent or not. Same is true if you use a “local” Blue Cross captive agent or call the company direct.

Of course if you call the company it is no different from any other Medigap carrier. You may get accurate information or not.

In this case I don’t believe she got the truth.

She had asked for, and was quoted, a plan F supplement plan. There is no way she could have been given a much lower rate unless someone pulled a fast one and quoted high F which is about 70% less the “regular” F.

The reason for the savings is that high F does not pay for anything until you have satisfied a $2,000 deductible.

Even saving $100 per month (which is the approximate difference in regular F and high F) you don’t save enough to make up the difference in most cases. Saving $1200 to incur $2000 additional out of pocket expenses is not a good decision.

In her case in particular, she has some rather high, ongoing medical expenses that will quickly eat up the savings.

At this point it did not matter since she had decided my advice was not credible given that my quoted rate was almost 3x higher than the rate she had from the “other” Blue Cross rep.

There are ways to save money and avoid overpaying for Medicare supplement plans but this isn’t one of them. Don’t be fooled by what seems to be a much better offer. 

Georgia Medicare Plans has the best rates in the state for Medicare supplement plans.

Medicare – Your Doctor, Your Choice

Medicare annual open enrollment starts soon. Will you be prepared? Will YOUR doctor accept your new plan? Who is in charge of your health care? You, or an insurance company?

Most Doctors Accept Medicare Assignment

The next time you make an appointment with your doctor, will you be turned down? While most doctors accept Medicare assignment, about half do not participate in one or more Medicare Advantage plans.

With original Medicare and a Medicare supplement plan, you get to pick your doctor.

When you have an Advantage plan, the insurance company makes that decision for you and presents you with a list of “acceptable” doctors.

Medicare open enrollment is around the corner and many wonder if they are better off with an Advantage plan or Medigap coverage. The “right” answer is . . . it depends.

The Basics of Georgia Medicare Plans

Original Medicare only covers 52% of your health care costs, so unless you are wealthy, you need additional insurance to help pay your bills. Seniors in Georgia can choose from two types of private health insurance . . . Advantage plans or Medicare supplement plans (also known as Medigap).

Before you can enroll in an Advantage plan or Medicare supplement plan you must have Medicare Part A and Part B. Most do not pay a premium for Part A but will pay the Part B premium via deduction from your Social Security check.

Advantage plans and Medigap plans have monthly premiums that are determined by your age, your gender, where you live and the type of coverage you want.

How Do Medicare Advantage Plans Work?

Most Advantage plans have doctor and hospital networks. Some allow you to use medical providers that are outside their network, some do not. If you have a plan that provides out of network coverage, it only applies if the doctor or hospital agrees to accept the plans terms and conditions of payment.

It is not unusual to find that half the doctors in your county do not participate in Advantage plans or they may currently accept SOME Advantage plans but not others.

Some Advantage plans cover prescription drugs, some do not. For our purposes we are only considering plans that do not include Rx coverage.

Advantage plans have copay’s for doctor visits, outpatient hospital services, ambulance, Emergency Room, durable medical equipment (DME), diabetic supplies, diagnostic X-ray and lab services and so forth.

The copay may be a fixed amount, such as $20, or it may be a percentage of the charge levied by your provider. Typically you are required to pay 20% of the approved charge.

Every time you utilize these medical services you will need to verify that the provider is “in network” or that they agree to accept the terms and conditions of your plans payment schedule.

In short, with a Medicare Advantage plan you use THEIR doctors, not yours.

Medicare Supplement Plan N

If you have original Medicare and Medigap plan N your plan works like this.

You may use any doctor, or any hospital, that accepts Medicare assignment. In your county almost every doctor and hospital participates in Medicare and has no trouble accepting assignment or your Medigap plan.

Your doctor bills Medicare. They review the claim and when it is approved, Medicare bills your supplement plan carrier.

Your doctor never knows, nor do they care, which carrier handles your Medigap coverage. All gap plans with the same letter are identical so you should pick the plan with the lowest premium.

When you pick Medigap plan N you are required to pay your Medicare Part B deductible (currently $162) plus up to $20 for a doctor visit; up to $50 for a visit to the Emergency Room.

With original Medicare and Medigap plan N, you use YOUR doctors, not theirs.

Which makes more sense?

Buying a plan that requires you to use THEIR doctors plus you pay 20% of an unknown amount every time you use the plan, or buying a plan that lets you use YOUR doctors and limits the amount you pay to $20.

You pick.

Georgia Medicare Plans has affordable Medigap plans for GA seniors. Use our GA Medigap Quotes link to find plans, compare rates and decide which plan best fits your needs and budget.